The basics
Japan: Applying to University - Must read

Applying to a Japanese university

Want to apply to a Japanese university as an international student but not sure how? Here’s everything you need to know to apply to study abroad in Japan...


The most important step in applying to a Japanese university is finding a programme that you want to study. Once you're completely decided on your choice, make sure you check with the international office of that institution to complete your application. Certain universities have different application regulations and the following information is just to give you an idea of what the application process is like. You should always apply directly to your university or programme and follow the instructions they provide.


What questions should you ask the International Office about applying?

  • Am I eligible for this programme?
  • Do I apply for this programme online? If not online, where do I send my application?
  • What additional documents does this application need and where can I send them?
  • When is the application deadline?


What you need to apply

  • A valid passport
  • Proof of financial stability for the extent of your programme
  • At least 12 years of school in your home country or proof of completion of pre-university coursework for undergraduate programmes, or a bachelors degree equivalent for graduate programmes


Things you may need

  • The ability to speak, read and write Japanese (the Japanese language requirements will depend on your programme, but it is highly advisable to learn a little Japanese before you go!)
  • A recommendation from the Japanese Embassy in your home country
  • A recommendation from your home university if you are planning on an exchange or semester/year long programme
  • At least one reference letter from a teacher or mentor
  • A passing grade in the university’s entrance examination


Entrance Examinations

These examinations are held twice a year, usually in June and November. All Japanese students must take entrance examinations in order to go to a university, but their examinations are often a lot harder than the ones taken by foreign students.


Make sure to check with your institution before you apply to see firstly if you have to take this exam and if so, when and where this will happen. 


When to Apply

The timeline of when to apply depends solely on your institution. For entrance into autumn classes, the application period ranges from December to April at most institutions. Make sure to check with the international office at your institution to be sure of application deadlines.

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About Author

Ella Frazer is a student at the University of Puget Sound studying English Literature and Religion. She is currently studying abroad in London and is busy enjoying the collection of museums, constantly losing her way, and being of legal drinking age. When she is not writing for Hotcourses Abroad, you can usually find her searching for manuscripts at the British Library.